Brian Gay birdied the second hole of a three-man playoff on Sunday to win the US PGA Tour’s US$5.6 million Humana Challenge.
Scott Stallings, who took a five-shot lead into the final round, hit his second shot at the par-five 18th into the water and failed to make the playoff that included Gay, Sweden’s David Lingmerth and Charles Howell.
The trio finished 72 holes on 25-under 263. US tour rookie Lingmerth had 10 birdies in his 10-under 62 on the Palmer course, where the final round was played after the first three rounds were played over three courses in the southern California desert.
“It feels amazing right now,” said Gay, who struggled last year to make changes to his game designed to give him a bit more length off the tee. “I’m still in a little bit of shock. It kind of happened so fast there at the end the way things went down.”
“Last year was a struggle. I just wanted to come out this year kind of refocused, recharged, and believing in myself,” he said.
Gay said he went into the final round knowing he needed to be aggressive.
“I knew Scott was five ahead. It was going to be, even with a great round, a really low round, it would be tough to catch him,” he said.
Gay had nine birdies in his nine-under 63, and Howell countered two bogeys with 10 birdies in his eight-under 64 on Sunday.
Gay had a birdie chance at the last which would have given him the outright lead, but missed his eight-footer. When he finished, four players were tied for the lead. He was expecting at least one of them to birdie the par-five finishing hole.
“It was a rollercoaster,” Gay said. “I was fortunate for that not to happen and have another chance.”